When you look up the definition of a "maverick," Webster's dictionary offers two results:
- A person who refuses to follow the customs or rules of a group
-An independent individual who does not go along with a group or party
These definitions bear an uncanny resemblance to the spirit of entrepreneur, billionaire, family man and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban.
Mark’s path to success started rather humbly. Before he was selling billion-dollar companies, he was sneaking into MBA classes at Indiana University to prove to himself he was just as smart as those students.
Cuban certainly took the circuitous route, but, as Mark would tell you, “If I can do it, you can do it.”
I had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Cuban for an exclusive interview for Elite Daily, and we hit on a wide range of topics, from the dangers of social media, to his newest ventures and advice for Millennials.
A big topic of discussion was the issue of digital privacy. In 2014, we live in a world in which any and all information that you put on social media could potentially hurt you.
I can look at the digital footprint of anyone online and know more about them then their family does. It’s incredibly creepy, Cuban admits. When we write a text, the minute we hit send, we lose ownership of that text, but we don’t lose responsibility. Those texts can be forwarded, saved and modified.
With his latest, and perhaps most aggressive media venture yet, Cyber Dust, Cuban hopes to combat the evolving concerns that surround our digital privacy. The key difference between Cyber Dust and the popular app, Snapchat, is the instant message deletion, which allows nothing to be stored. This leaves no history or digital trail.
.@GamecockRK exactly it never touches a hard drive on your device or our servers.. When we delete u can't recover it. Period end of story — Mark Cuban (@mcuban) September 1, 2014
Whether it’s personally or professionally, the wealth of information that we leave online sticks with us forever, even if it is “deleted.”
Cuban’s inspiration for Cyber Dust came from a personal struggle he had with the government:
They took every message and blog I had written and tried to create their own context. When I wrote that I hated to lose, they literally, in a courtroom said that because I hated to lose I was willing to cheat. Ridiculous stuff. But, it made me realize that everything any of us wrote, particularly in social media, could easily be turned against us.
Mark reflected on how vulnerable we are in the social media world:
When we write a text, the minute we hit send, we lose ownership of that text, but we don’t lose responsibility. Those texts can be forwarded, saved and modified or posted on a social media account for the world to see.
So where does the risk truly come from?
This risk isn’t the government. It’s not about doing something sketchy. The real risk comes from our friends and business associates. We all have kept texts and forwarded them to embarrass a friend. Or have seen someone we know get upset because someone reposted their text or a picture somewhere.
Mark then expanded on what the Social Media boom means for kids entering the job field:
Your employer, potential employer, someone you are dating, marketers, social organizations, everyone and anyone is looking at all that you leave online or that has been shared about you are they are making decisions about your life for you.
One of the most cumbersome parts of our everyday lives is our cluttered digital mailboxes. Weaving through thousands of e-mails is an unenviable and exhaustive process.
Add texting to that, and it can become overwhelming. Mark shared his insight on Cyber Dust’s new wave of mail consumption as we know it:
I have cut the number of emails I have to deal with in half. With Cyber Dust I can run through all my messages quickly and efficiently and be done with them in half the time I spent with emails from the same people. There are values to businesses of all sizes. Cyber Dust protects you while making you more efficient.
The Millennial Movement
I think Millennials are like any other generation.
The narrative quickly turned to Millennials, a topic near and dear to both Mark and Elite Daily’s heart. It may be a wildly overused word, but it is the word that has been attached to people born between the 1980s and 2000. It defines the texting and social media generation.
Every kid walking down the street has his head buried in his phone at all times. Mark Cuban has kids of his own, and knows this as well as anyone. Mark touched on working with Millennials, and how it differs from working with older, more established entrepreneurs.
Young kids want things to be easy. They want to have fun. They want to save the world. I don’t see anything different. What it comes down to is simple. Smart people who want to do the work are successful. No matter what the age.
So what intrigues Cuban the most about working with Millennials, particularly from a business standpoint?
They are more interested in being free agents. Baby Boomers wanted a stable career. Millenials want to market their careers every month and try to figure out their worth to themselves, their companies and society. I think that’s an improvement.
Constantly developing products has made Mark an expert in identifying trends in the market, and Millennials are a perfect case study to tap into. When asked if he is targeting kids in terms of marketing, Mark spoke to potential changing of the guard from Snapchat to Cyber Dust:
Every one is targeting kids. They are open minded to new products. They are a technological generation that always wants the latest and greatest. So we definitely target them. Cyber Dust is the perfect product for millennials. It protects you from all the f*ck ups in your life. Your own, and the f*ck ups you know. That’s why we target Millennials.
Plus I think they realize that Snapchat is becoming an app for middle schoolers. High school and older (people) want products they can graduate to. They don’t want their friends lists littered with the friends of their little brothers and sisters. With more features and more of a conversational focus, I think we provide that solution.
Advice To Next Generation
No matter how successful you are, it’s imperative to continue growing and evolving every day. When we’re younger, we make mistakes. Sometimes they are costly mistakes. So what advice would Mark give a young person that he might not give to someone who is older?
You don’t need the answers now. You don’t need to find the perfect job. GO out there and try as many things as you can. Get paid to learn in different jobs. Then when you find something you love, do all you can to be great at it.
With the rise and continuous growth of young entrepreneurs, the Millennials will soon start to take over major businesses. Mark discussed the differences in the mindset among Baby Boomers and Millennials:
I think they will think for themselves far more than baby boomers do. I was really excited as a baby boomer that we were the 'Sex, Drugs & Rock and Roll' generation. Instead we grew into the FOX News and MSNBC generation.
Millennials can do their own thing. They can be individuals. They won't all want the same shows to get their viewpoints.
If you thought you might see Mark Cuban dabble in other sports, don't get your hopes up. Mark is solely focused on his current franchise, the Dallas Mavericks:
No. I’m having too much fun with my kids to take on another team.
A Look Inside Shark Tank
With so many legendary ventures under his belt, such as Broadcast.com and a championship with the Dallas Mavericks, perhaps the thing that Cuban is currently most known for is his starring role on ABC’s smash hit, “Shark Tank.”
Mark admitted that despite the show’s huge success, he wasn’t originally confident in the project when he first signed on.
I really thought my first season would be its last. What I didn’t realize was that the show was about inspiring people to go for the American Dream. It’s not about business.
Mark then shared a little known fact about the Sharks attire on the show:
We wear the same clothes all time, he explained. We don’t film shows. We film deals and the producers package them into shows. So we have to have the same clothes on so we can mix and match.
Learning From The Past
When asked what personal experiences he learned from the most, Mark reflected on his college days and early career moments. His answers echo a sentiment that everyone can relate to:
There are so many. From so many bad jobs I learned from bad bosses what not to do. I learned that I could be happy when I was poor sleeping on the floor and having five roommates. I learned that if I put in the time and effort I could compete with anyone. (I learned) that the best revenge was success. So many lessons, so little time!
The Key To Success
The tenacity and the energy that Mark Cuban brings on a daily basis is second to none. This is a man who has never taken his foot off the gas. There is no 9-5. His office hours are 24/7.
So when you’re tired and want to give up on something, remember that Cuban is grinding away at his seemingly endless array of endeavors. So with all that said, I asked Mark, "What is the key to your success?"
I work harder than you. I am more competitive than you. I hate to lose more than you. I will do everything I can in business to kick your ass and that will never change. To me business is the ultimate sport and my goal is to kick your ass!
Photo Credit: WENN